Economy & Energy
Ano XII-No 76
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Ecological-Economic Zoning and Optimal Land Use Design of Hydrographic Basins Territories

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O Crepúsculo do Petróleo
Mauro F. P. Porto

 Ecological - Economical Zoning and Optimal Design

 of Land use of Watersheds Territories

Paulo Pereira MARTINS JUNIOR 1,2;

Omar Campos FERREIRA4,

Vitor Vieira VASCONCELOS1, 3,

Douglas Rezende JANO1,3.



1 – Fundação Centro Tecnológico de Minas Gerais. Av. J.C. da Silveira 2000. Horto. 31.170-000 Belo Horizonte. Tel.: +55 (31) 3489-2250 / FAX (31) 3489-2227.

2 – Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto. Escola de Minas. Departamento de Geologia. Programa de Pós-graduação. Área de concentração Geologia Ambiental e Conservação de Recursos Naturais.

3 – Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geografia / Tratamento da Informação Espacial.; Graduação Sistemas de Informação

4 – ECEN (ONG) . Belo Horizonte.

Sumary - The ecological and economical zonings are the third level of integrated products to help decision-making regarding the geo-environmental and economic management of watersheds and rural properties. The fourth system is the Territory Optimal Land Use Design planning, TUOD - introducing new factors in the management models with concepts about "what can be” and “what ought to be," built into the Basic Model and with a number of scenarios with economical analysis. Sequencing studies for the 3rd order sub-basin of Entre Ribeiros in Paracatu Valley are presented. This sequence of maps correctly illustrates the concepts that lead to the production of a cartographic backdrop of TUOD. The concepts are examined in detail for the implementation of a TUOD after the execution of Ecological zonings mappings, Economic zonings and Ecological-economical zonings.

KEY-WORDS - Ecological-economical zonings, Optimal Land Use Design of Territories, modeling, decision-making tools, geo-environmental and economical management.


The methods of making the ecological zoning – El-Z, the economic zoning Ec-Z (Martins Jr. et al., 2008; Martin Jr. et al., 2009) and the ecological-economical zoning – EEZ of watersheds are the basis for starting the whole process of modeling the management of any watershed. Certainly, the disciplinary mappings can also be the beginning of the process as well.

Certainly, one can recognize that the EEZ watershed zoning constitutes the first type of integrated results, usually with two methods, the Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Approaches (Martins Jr., 2000), and the various sciences concerned. Surely these studies are not yet sufficient to construct the decisions about "how to act, how to occupy, how to preserve and maintain a territory." The EEZ zonings must be considered as “systemic entities in the form of management tools” of the type "system of systems".

This work gives also sequence to the development of the “Agricultural and Environmental Geosciences’ proposition (Martins Jr., 1998), a type of method that involves a strong association with the Interdisciplinary Approach to Geo-ecology and economics, as the two main fields - epistemological and methodological.

This study presents new mapping, methodological and modeling concepts regarding land use. It was first proposed in 2002 then partially developed during 2003-2006 in a project financed by the Federal Government Ministry MCT / FINEP / CT-Hydro Sector Fund-2002 (Project CRHA, 2006).

Distinctly the "Territory Land Use Optimal Design of Watersheds” - TUOD® system is proposed as an integral treatment involving sciences, and engineering topics such as: ¾ Ethics (Eth), Legislation (Lg), Physical Economy (PhysE), Environmental geology (EG), Structural Geology (SG), Stratigraphy (St), Geotechnics Gt, Pedology (Pd), Soil suitability (Ss), topics on environmental impacts (EI), Hydrology (Hyl), Hydrogeology (HGl), underground recharge zones (URZ) and specific areas of aquifer recharge (SaaR) (Martins Jr. Et al., 2006), Botany (Bt), Conservation Techniques (CT), Impact Analysis on the biomes IA, Climatology Cl, Implications of Climate Change CCI, Forestry Fy, Electric Engineering EE, Agronomic Engineering (AgroE), Agricultural Engineering (AgriE), Interdisciplinary Logic (IL) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The TUOD® system is the fourth system proposed to continue those presented in the articles of Martin Jr. et al. (2006 and 2007), as a logical sequence of modeling geo-agro-industrial, environmental rural areas of watershed basins management.

So what is the meaning of the fourth support system for watersheds management - TUOD®? The very fact that the ecological zoning, the economic zoning and the ecological-economic zoning are three products featured as a type of scientific ontology, which can answer the question "what it is" but also can respond to "what could potentially be," they do not directly focus on three logical requirements: (1) the environmental licenses (2) the ecological economic zoning for land use planning and (3) the monitoring of natural and productive events that occur within a watershed.

In fact, TUOD answers the question "what is and what should be possible ", which is intrinsically a different question of "what it is?" or "what it can potentially be?" as in the case of economic zoning; nevertheless these zonings procedures must precede the TUOD and are inseparable in the process of decision-making and management operation.

Therefore, it is considered that after the disciplinary mapping and its integration in the El-Z, Ec-Z and the EEZ zonings, the TUOD is the fourth general integration step. This step in turn is divided into two product types: (1) the general TUOD model and (2) the temporal cartographic and economic TUOD scenarios, involving the production and supply of agricultural products, planning and control of grazing areas and forestry, changes in commercial demands and periodic variations in production, as well as issues of logistics, roads, rural industries, energy production in complex matrix and the wastes production.

Note: we thank Professor Omar Campos Ferreira who has been following and contributing to the construction of this work over recent years, to Leandro Arb d'Abreu Novaes for the cartographic support and also to Lawrence de Andrade Magalhães Gomes who obtained his Masters degree having Paulo Martins as advisor.

Problems: The following questions to the sequential zonings El-Z, Ec-Z and EEZ also involve two basic procedures. The first one is the diagnosis, which should have its own shape relative to the goals of a specific schedule. The second one deals with the ideal conditions that the executive actions and projects must meet in order to maintain the ideal conditions regarding environmental and economic sustainability. The sustainability of economic systems has a feedback from the environmental sustainability. So these two issues relate to the nature of diagnosis and the Territory Land Use Optimal Design, TUOD, for Policy Planning - PP.

Objectives: (1) To present the characteristics of TUOD (2) Develop logical, ecological and economical aspects as part of procedures to get to the Territory Land Use Optimal Design, TUOD of watersheds and rural properties (3) Prepare an overview of the principles, criteria and procedures for developing changing scenarios within the TUOD fundamental model.


Zoning is a land classification into homogeneous areas concerning aspects or themes that one wants to integrate to information so that they will form specific cognitive frames, which are supposed to identify structures existing in nature and are recognizable by the classificatory function of rational human activity.

The Ecological and economic Zoning EEZ binomial and the Territory Land Use Optimal Design Planning, EEZ + TUOD are two procedures and two key products for the environmental and economic management at the diagnosis and decision-making levels regarding planning of “what to do”, “how to do”, “why make in a certain way” and “what for”.

The two cognition systems are combined as a diagnosis of a Theory of Values in the sense that the TUOD design is constituted as "can be and/or should be", and therefore provides a fundamental way in the form of a Model, and many specific ways in the form of scenarios, so that it becomes a dynamic planning in space and time, both on natural systems and production systems.

Specialized sciences permit the mapping by discipline, which captures aspects of the systems, but never a system in its total aspects. This is evident since the epistemological field of science "divides to understand," thus limiting the observation of selected aspects, processes and structures and recognized as such in accordance with the possibility of separating them in Nature and describe them consistently. This characteristic of the scientific project itself comes from the fact that in Nature things are organized in systems, all interconnected, but each one with its own relative rule (natural laws bounded), i.e., with ÷ characteristic domain ï, with ïown natural processes ïand êrelative identityï, concerning the whole system identity of which each subsystem is a part (the vertical bars are always used in the sense of open sets, and so of open systems and open cases).

m perspectiva as ciências especialistas servem para permitir a cartografia por disciplina, que apreende aspectos dos sistemas, mas jamais um sistema em sua totalidade de aspectos. Isso é evidente em virtude do campo epistemológico da ciência que “divide para compreender”, e assim limita a observação a aspectos, processos e estruturas selecionadas e entendidas de acordo com a possibilidade de separá-las na Natureza e descrevê-las de modo consistente. Tal característica do projeto científico advém do próprio fato de que na Natureza as coisas são organizadas em sistemas, todos interligados, mas cada um com sua relativa soberania, isto é, com êdomínio característico ê,÷ processos próprios ÷ e ÷ relativa identidade÷ no conjunto do Sistema a que faça parte. As barras são sempre usadas no sentido de conjuntos abertos, logo sistemas abertos e processos abertos.

Within a systemic perspective the zonings mapping necessarily presents a non-disciplinary characteristic, but a multi-disciplinary type of grasping and describing natural systems so as to address the structures and processes as "phenomenological neighborhoods", i.e. to treat those aspects of ïreal systems that are immediately inter-related with each other.ê

The Territory Land Use Optimal Design, TUOD, already proceeds with the multidisciplinary treatment, while being interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary at the same time for three reasons: (1) TUOD deals, a priori, with all sub-systems in an "integrated mode" in its totality as well as in their "ontological way of being," i.e., exposing the systems themselves, (2) it deals with them as an " directed relation mode object ", perceiving the natural systems with the intent of using them and (3) TUOD treats them from a trans-disciplinary perspective, when modeling these natural systems with the bias of the peculiarities of the human associative functions of social and economic types, thus considering natural systems for various purposes and among them the purpose of economic production.

Therefore it is clear that the sequence of modeling the agronomic, energetic and geo-environmental management of watersheds proceeds from specific sciences and cartographies to the multidisciplinary cartography for ecological zonings – El-Z, economic zonings – Ec-Z - and-ecological-economic zoning - EEZ, thus from the epistemological field of the “fundamental modeling” to the management model - TUOD.

The technological innovation proposed here then progresses toward the “economic potentials” (economic zonings) issues of basins considering the legitimate possibilities of using them and the ecosystems within them (ecological zonings). This progression leads necessarily from these logical requirements to the next model, which is the Optimal Land Use Design – TUOD that presupposes potential limits legitimately usable by man, the conditions of conservation and preservation of several natural subsystems, species, genera and families of living beings, and the entropy progression of use so that it will not exceed the sustainable capacity of natural systems to regenerate themselves, and obviously it is the responsibility of humanity to carry out all conservation and mitigation measures, without which the natural forces extrapolate the sustainability of natural dynamic balance and thus produce a growing degeneration chaos and thus irreversibility.

THE TERRITORY OPTIMAL LAND USE DESIGN – TUOD – As a new and recent concept one has within this design an integral notion of: ¾ cartography, ecology, economics, logistics, climatology and other sciences and subjects, which is defined as:

the regional and/or local land use design, in the form of zoning conditions to this land use, which presupposes that it should determine what is the ideal or optimal land use (land, with the meaning of all sub-systems and interactions among them).

The notion of design in the sense discussed here is a notion of "model of what should be." For the modeling sense it applies to the following definition:

¾ "the cartographic geo-environmental and economic potentials integration approach, developed or not, as a description of “possible, restrictive, generic, specific, positive or negative conditions” in order to cover all natural systems and subsystems and the possibilities of productive anthropogenic actions in them, considering the preservation, conservation and mitigation procedures".

The logical models sequence

The [Natural and Economic Models] - NEM should be interpreted considering the ecological and economical zonings - EEZ as an initial condition and then determine the legitimate and permissible macro-conditions for the human intervention in the environment as a schedule for necessary mitigations projects. The model can then be brought to the condition of "regional executive pre-projects - REPP" under the concept of [Regional and Local Models and Scenarios]. The pre-projects are of two types: one of pre-feasibility studies and the other of feasibility studies.

In its turn, the sum of local scenarios should be incorporated as a [Optimal Model of Land Use], generic and broad enough to deal with different settings that change in time - [Temporal Scenarios-models] - TSM. Time enters as a factor strongly associated with rural and industrial production and it can be understood as time in the "Economic Mode" in the sense of Herman Dooyeweerd (1958) adopted by Martins Jr. (2000). So the scenarios include, over the years, the temporality of human activities within the real field of economy and the transformation of production techniques.

The TUOD Model presents the framework of possibilities and realities already in progress or future execution. However, because the possibilities are many, both in quality and quantity, it implies that for these possibilities it will be necessary to develop scenarios within the restrictive and inducing aspects detectable by and with the TUOD model.

     The Optimal Land Use Designs– TUOD, are in fact several drawings or maps according to geo-ecological, climatic, agricultural techniques, available pasture and forestry, energy access and market relations. Market research in the form of opportunities in the Macro- and Micro- Economics are also included. These opportunities should articulate the supply and demand relationship to the natural and productive systems as well as to abandoned natural and/or degraded systems. It should be mandatory their re-integration into natural and/or productive systems as long-term projects, even projects of the secular type, within a sustainability program of the countries.


The economic conditions both from the Economics Physics (Georgescu-Roegen, 1970; Ayres, 1973; Odum, 1996; Martins Jr. & Ferreira, 2009) and Financial Economics points of view are treated in the TUOD design as “imposing aspects” - IA and other are elective aspects - EA. Impositions are among those that are restrictive and limiting, and also those which are lax with a unique possibility apart from simply maintaining the natural status quo somewhere. Still others imply cases of mandatory mitigation.

Elective aspects are all those that are permissible, but are dependent on negotiation between the basin committee and the landowners, or indeed on some interest for the production system.

The limiting and optional conditions indicate, therefore, that the economic aspects, which were already addressed in the ecological-economic zoning EEZ, are resumed within the spirit of "can and/or should be," both for maintaining the status quo and maintaining previous or new projects. Correctives aspects for the watersheds are here included, since for maintenance of the agro-pastoral, forest and/or rural industrial projects it may be necessary to mitigate the basin. In this case the optional condition prevails, as long as mitigating procedures are observed in two cases - development or vetoed.

Another important aspect is related to the licenses to be issued namely “fit, restricted and incapable” regarding the Aptitude mapping of soils and the use of Agro-climatology, due to the fact that land use in each of these conditions may involve the use of inputs that could affect sensitive areas, according to the situation. However, not always a sensitive area must necessarily be classified as a fully restricted area, but this implies applying special care.

The economic issue in watersheds is focused on agriculture, forestry, grazing, energy production and rural industries, apart from the mineral issues, roads, isolated engineering works when they exist outside of urban areas and villages. In the same way as for EEZ zoning, the economic issue should be reviewed in the same way with the addition of conditionings regarding limitation, impediment and stimulation issues not addressed in the zonings procedures. In the case of EEZ it is worth therefore to restore the conditioning (Martin Jr. et al, 2007), this time qualified as "determinant clusters":

(1) current total planted area

(2) allowable planting area

(3) continuity index of the total allowable planting area

(4) indices of floral discontinuity - allowable and critical

(5) determination of optimal conditions for forests and forest regions interconnection

(6) productivity in the different categories of producers

(7) capital raising

(8) indebtedness of farmers

(9) profits

(10) added value in the vicinity of producing fields

(11) allowable, tolerable and not permitted use of inputs

(12) categories of environmental risks according to the requirements of natural systems –allowable and not allowable

(13) social inclusion in the different categories of producers, working conditions and jobs

(14) mandatory uses of soil conservation processes and

(15) mandatory uses of water conservation processes.

These 15 issues, under the name of "determinant clusters", create a framework of possibilities and organization of ideal use conditions, taken in their macro aspects, which in turn allows them to unfold in temporal scenarios. With these 15 logical aspects it is possible to establish the fundamentals for a Model of Physical Economy - MEF, based on exergy analysis. With exergy analysis one can quantify each part of the economic processes, using as the basic variable the exergy of various subsystems under use and that of natural products extracted and produced, exergy expressed in Joules as a measure of the free energy of the systems and of production, both for the output amount and the quantity and quality of wastes. Thus, with the wastes quality bias it is possible to deal with “how these agents act” as chemical wastes on ecosystems and inorganic systems in the "spheres of influence" of productive activities.


Until very recently there were no conditions, or there was no interest, to add the environmental cost to products. When this is done there is already an environmental liability to be paid by the present and future generations, in order to repair the current degeneration process and restore to a viable significant level part of what was lost. These liabilities will be recovered in the form of combined taxes and actions with effective burden on the community. The 20th century generation has neglected a basic ethical principle ¾ namely "the earth is not ours, but for future generations." It is notable that regeneration is never complete because there are no means of recovering resources to make a total mitigation. In fact, the regeneration can be ample depending on using the power of re-vegetation that may take generations.

A very notable example is the deforestation carried out in the Valley of Rio Doce in order to meet the metallurgical and steel companies needs located in this watershed and elsewhere. The environmental prices aggregated to the present products should already be added to the environmental liability produced by these companies that should solve this major national problem. How to add to the industrial and social micro-economy the real cost of this restoration without making impossible a fragile industrial process? However, the problem exists and without a way to link restoration and socio-economic interests and if experience should prove that it will become unworkable, then the remaining ecosystems will progress into irreversibility.

What actually happened is that the industrial processes deployed in Valley have not been evaluated in any way regarding the environmental cost, resulting in the ecological chaos of Vale do Rio Doce. How to effectively add this cost to the environmental policy and to the industrial prices policy using the two principles: the tax and the current quality control? Is that a lost cause?

These are some of the economic and social order aspects which affect the perspective of Ecology, Ethics and Economics relationship in the case of natural resources extraction, as well as in the deployment of industries and agricultural projects. In the latter excessive demand of water may still occur, which may lead to stress in the basin. This type of topics, among others, may be directly and indirectly part of the Optimal Land Use Planning Design of a watershed and should also be represented with adequate semiotics in maps, especially scenarios maps.


For the Entre Ribeiros sub-basin, a 3rd order basin in Paracatu Valley, a TUOD model has been developed which is generic enough as expected. In this case the model is already presented as a first scenario. This is a Spatial Planning possible scenario due to the widespread use of the basin for agricultural purposes with huge tracts of deforestation, creating "floral discontinuity" (Martin Jr., 2006 in Project CRHA) in the Cerrado biome with its various ecosystems, as shown in Figure 4. The scenario notion is more objective than the model notion, but in this set are the major decisions arrived at from El-Z, Ec-Z and EEZ and all the considerations necessary to determine “what is right” and “what is not right” as a form of land use.

A General Mitigation Model, GMM is also possible and desirable under the circumstances. In this case this model should indicate all necessary mitigation. Mitigating means the required and also sufficient corrections to bring the natural system to a safe condition, assuming that all activities performed, or that may be performed in the basin will follow the conservation rules and procedures at all levels of the systems.

The Model of Optimal Land Using requires at least that:

(1) there is no floral discontinuity over large extensions, so that it might affects the biome and the specific sites and ecosystems, preferably no floral discontinuity,

(2) that the discontinuities do not become a real barrier to genomic information exchange among populations of terrestrial species,

 (3) there is no irreversibility of any particular ecosystem, when it occupies almost all the larger ecosystem in the watershed, or when it is the only ecosystem in a sub-basin of 3rd to 8th order,

(4) there is communication between different forest regions and riparian vegetation, communicating all bodies of flowing water,

(5) to provide safety for terrestrial species circulation through the forest corridors,

(6) to erase in fact every edge effect in the frontiers of corridors and riparian forests and

(7) that no animal population and plant group should run the risk of being confined to relatively small areas less than 300 ha to 1,000 ha, according to specific situations.


Forest corridors are part of scenarios as much as of the TUOD model. The creation of ecological forest and ecological-economic corridors (Martins Jr. et al., 2006, 2008) along ridges lines can be part of one type of scenario. The sub-basin in question before the 1980s was a carrier of plant ecosystems peculiar to wetland and flooded areas (Fig. 2, white areas).

The corridors, according to the logical-formal injunctions and geo-ecological requirements listed from (1) to (7) above, should be designed as different scenarios, which in turn serve to determine other classes of requirements in the form of other more focused scenarios. Every scenario involves situations that may require negotiation among the parties, with the basin committee and landowners, especially when they do not imply critical condition, but options that may be negotiable.

From the TUOD model point of view this should be presented as a letter of constraints and possibilities in which the integrity of ecosystems and potential agricultural production will be concurrently safeguarded, both as current and real fact and changing scenarios in time.

The maps of Figures 1-4 show the transition of one Zoning of Ecological bias (Figure 1), passing through an economic zoning (Figure 2 and 3) until reaching the Optimal Use Planning Design with a specific scenario (Figure 4).


Figure 1: Disciplinary pedology map of Entre-Ribeiros Basin, emphasizing natural features typical of a Ecological Zoning. The following captions should be emphasized: GX (Ultisoil), LVA (Dystrophic Red-Yellow soil), LV (Oxisoil), CX (Cambisoil), RL (litholic neosoil) and RU (Alluvial Soil). The soils legend follows the EMBRAPA classification (Digital base in MARTINS Jr. et al. 2002-2006).

aptidão agrícola - ecen

Figure 2: Agricultural Aptitude map of Entre-Ribeiros watershed, presenting the economic potential inferred from the ecological aspects of the map in Figure 1. The potential use decays from level 1 to level 6. As a sub-classification, the managements of A (high tech) to E (minimal tech) is available in the following order: upper case letter for best fitness, lower case letter for average fitness and lower case letter in parentheses for minimum fitness. (Digital base in Martins Jr. et al. 2002-2006).

Entre-ribeiros A4 - Zoneamento Agro-econômico -  2008

Figure 3 - Economic Zoning diagnosis, Ec-Z-d of Farming Systems in Entre Ribeiros Basin in the year 2008. This is an Economic Zoning strictu sensu, while also defining the typology of the remaining fragments of native vegetation (Vasconcelos, 2009).


Figure 4 - A study and model of Territory Optimal Land Use Planning Design of the 3rd order watershed with corridors scenarios drawn in sepia for regional planning as a model/ scenario of geo-ecological and economic possibilities. The blank area corresponds to agriculture and pastures; the impact on the sub-basins of the 4th and 5th order is visible in the central-eastern part (Project CRHA, 2006; Martins Jr. et al., 2007; Andrade, 2006).

Figure 4 presents a scenario both ecological and economical. The corridors are ecological in the sense that they serve to conserve soil and ridge lines, to interconnect the remaining forest regions, riparian forests and woodlands, less noticeable on this scale, as well as to ensure the survival of the floral continuity over 60 km from east to west in the basin. From an economic point of view, the corridors are used for the production of fruit trees, hardwood plants and energy plants, all of them of economic interest (Martins Jr. et al. 2008c).


This type of production within the TUOD model is expressed by the potential of waterways through the analysis of entropy changes in the watershed profile. The method of profile maturity analysis was established by Yang (1971) and was applied and developed for use in the TUOD cartographic model by signaling potential amplitudes with particular emphasis on small plants and small hydroelectric plants. The potentials are indicated by special colors of water courses sections, depending on specific flow rates, together with diagrams of expected profile and the examined maturation profile of the sub-basin in question. The site of hydrometric stations should be adequate to supplement the information about the maturity profile in order to integrate the modeling of specific flow rates and profiles measured for the set of sub-basins, since the sites should be exploited in several rivers and parts of the same streams (Figure 5).


Figure 5 - Screen of sisORCI® system for the calculation program for the basin profile of the Executables Bank - BEx - of the system; data are derived from the seminal work of Yang (1971).


Maps Territory Optimal Land Use Design planning, TUOD, of watersheds are part of a new, patentable concept that gives the sequence of various types of ecological, economic and ecologic-economic zonings EEZ. The epistemological concepts, procedures, methods and products are sequenced in a series of actions for the ecological and economic planning. The TUOD is an important step in the technological evolution of management, planning and modeling of land use and economic output. Thus the system becomes a TUOD system patentable as a new method, a new instrument and a new system of economic and ecological management of watersheds including network access and their own executables systems.


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